The Raskins’ Logan Raskin Talks Self-Titled Album, Touring With Motley Crue + More
The Raskins may not be a household name yet, but the band certainly have the platform to win over a bunch of new fans as they open for Motley Crue and Alice Cooper on the first leg of the Crue's 'Final Tour.' The band, which features siblings Roger and Logan Raskin, released their rocking self-titled album back in May and are raising their profile by the day with a catchy collection of songs. Loudwire recently had a chance to talk with The Raskins' Logan Raskin and he discussed the band's background, their self-titled album and what it's like touring with Motley Crue. Check out the chat below:
They say you have your whole life to write your first album. What was the biggest surprise to you in putting together The Raskins' debut disc?
The biggest surprise for both my brother and I for sure was the amount of content we ended having in the writing stage for the album. For us this was like an open diary and an opportunity for both of to express ourselves. A lot of emotion went into the creative process while reflecting on our past and all the trials and tribulations we've both been through not only in our musical careers but throughout our lives.
Take us inside the Raskins household. Did you grow up in a musical household? Did the parents encourage you? And were there ever any battles over who might play what instrument?
We grew up in a very musical background. Both our parents were in the music industry for many years. Our father had the lead role in many major Broadway shows such as 'Oklahoma,' 'South Pacific,' 'Annie Get Your Gun,' 'West Side Story' etc. Our mother was a big jazz singer in New York City with a few albums out. They taught us how to read and write music at a very young age. With no TVs in the house they put a piano in our bedroom. My brother and I started writing and composing our own music and duets at the tender age of 8. We slowly got into acoustic guitar as well because at the time we started listening to a lot of Simon and Garfunkel, Richie Havens and Steely Dan.
We never really had battles over who would play what instrument. It kind of just came organically to us. Roger was always better technically on guitar. It was important to him to be the best he could possible be at his instruments. For myself I really only was concerned with songwriting and the creating process. Learning how to push the boundaries creatively and really explore with the whole concept of songwriting was what really intrigued me the most and still to this day.
One of the great strengths of your debut disc is the diversity. There's little doubt it's a rock album, but you cover several styles (hard rock, melodic, pop rock, ballads) under the genre. When writing, is there a certain sound you gravitate toward? Is there a test a song must pass before it's a Raskins song?
Well for my brother and I the most important part of a song is the melody and the hook. Also the harmonies are a typical Raskin trait on our music. If the melody and chorus hook is strong we usually pursue the song until its complete. It never really matters to us if the song is a ballad or an up tempo rock or pop track. A great song is a great song no matter what the style. These were definitely some of our main points of focus for this debut Raskins album.
Getting into the album, 'We Had It All' is definitely a high adrenaline song. Can you tell us how the song came about and if there was anyone that influenced it?
For us, this is an important track and one we definitely decided to be our initial single out of the gate. The songs up tempo rock feel is definitely a great gauge for the style of band that we are in a nutshell. Also the content of the track which is a paradox of the trials and tribulations the Raskins have gone through over the years through the music industry as well as our journey through life itself. For us, that being said, this song for sure was in our minds an easy choice for the first track released by the Raskins. Our video as well we try to take the fans on this journey of ours ending up in Hollywood. It seems to have really connected with the public with the video nearing two million views on YouTube. The song kind of has influences of KISS, the Stooges and Joan Jett in there for sure just to name a few ... all favorites of ours.
You're looking at 'On the Radio' as a single as well, which makes sense given how melodic and catchy it is. Can you discuss the song, where it came from and your thoughts the first time your heard the fully realized and recorded version pumping through some stereo speakers?
The most memorable day I feel for any musician and that most of us musicians never forget is the first time we hear our music on the radio. That's definitely a day my brother and I wont ever forget. For the writing of this album we wanted to write about topics and meaningful moments in our life that had a huge impact on us. This for sure was one of them.
For us the trick was deciding they style of music we wanted this track to be. It made the most sense to us to have a feel good, summertime, sing-along pop rock track created to go along with this particular content. What we ended up with was exactly that and now happens to be one of my most favorite tracks on the album. We also decided this will be our second single released off the record to radio which fans will hear starting this summer. In our eyes this is the perfect summertime track. Very excited to see how our fans respond.
You've stated that the grand plan involves touring as much as possible. Can you share what it's like for you up onstage? What's the connection you feel with the crowd?
I have to say for us its quite indescribable. It's been a long hard journey not only for my brother and I but for the guys in the band as well. We have developed this band and it's following piece-by-piece, fan-by-fan. Really staying true to us being a grassroots promoted kind of an organization, it's been a process that has taken time and patience but is really starting to show dividends now. We take pride in the loyalty of our fans as we always show our appreciation toward them in crediting them for a large amount of our success. So getting back to the question at hand, being onstage in front of the crowds we are now getting to play in front of is incredibly gratifying and vindicating for all of us. Knowing what it took to get to this point in our career -- the blood, tears, and sweat so to speak -- to hear the actual adulation, excitement, and acceptance from such large crowds is very emotional for us. This is by far the most excitement we have ever felt and a time in our musical career we will always remember.
Of all the songs on your debut disc, which song is your favorite to play live at the moment?
From the crowd's reaction it seems every time we get to the song 'On the Radio' in our set a lot of the fans have been singing along and dancing in the aisles which is so cool to see. It's a feel good song and it's just so awesome to see it translate the way it was meant to, by all the fans and audience at the shows.
It's a huge thing being selected to play alongside such rock legends as Motley Crue and Alice Cooper. Take us back to what your reaction was when you found that the band was going to be part of this trek.
Well, very early on in the year our agent was discussing with us different touring possibilities for the spring and summer as well as the rest of the year. Different possibilities were brought to the table. Definitely some very cool opportunities, but me being the optimist that I am, interjected a couple of the biggest tours of the year never really thinking it would ever be a reality as possible tours for the Raskins. One being KISS/Def Leppard and the other being Motley Crue and Alice Cooper. Turns out Kiss/Def Leppard wasn't taking on a third act, so basically all that was left was the incredible long shot -- the one and only Motley Crue.
The Raskins were just about to start a 12-show spring tour with Scott Weiland. Just before that tour started I get a call from our agent asking me how serious was I when I said we wanted to tour with Motley Crue and Alice Cooper. I said, "As serious as a heart attack." He said well it might be possible and I will let you know in a few days. We were about five shows in to the Scott Weiland tour when I get the call saying it looks like you guys will be getting onto the Motley Crue tour. We are just waiting to get all the members of Motley into one room to show them your music and videos because they make the final decision. Turns out that they loved what they heard and saw, and said they would love to have us out with them as the third act. At that moment the dream became a reality for The Raskins.
We got invited to play all 66 US shows, which so far has been going incredibly well for us. Nikki Sixx is a super cool guy and is a big fan of our band. He has featured us on his show 'Sixx Sense' and his website. I have to continue to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Needless to say this has been one incredible year for The Raskins, and I can't wait to see where we go from here.
Obviously there's a lot to be learned from playing with the Crue and Alice. We realize it's still early in the run, but what has been your experience with them so far. Have you had a chance to hang out, maybe pick their brains a little bit or just glean anything from watching them play night in, night out?
The first thing that stands out is how huge the whole production is, and what and massive effort it takes to put this kind of a show on day in and day out. So many good hard working people come together putting forth a massive effort to make this incredible show happen. To see the each of the bands' professionalism from how they do their meet-and-greets, to soundchecks, to the actual performances is something we definitely have learned a lot from watching. Also being able to see these guys perform every night from front of stage and behind is incredible as well. You really get a sense for how hard these guys work and the commitment that it takes for this kind of a tour. It's incredibly impressive and inspiring for us all to witness.
The Motley Crue/Alice Cooper tour will keep you occupied for most of the fall. What's in store beyond the tour for the band?
Well, for us it's all about touring and exposing The Raskins music to as many fans and markets as physically possible. We will be on the road with Motley and Alice till Thanksgiving, then The Raskins plan to do some more recording in December as well as shooting another music video. There might be a few holiday shows there thrown in, but when 2015 hits the band will be touring for most of the year, really trying to push the debut album and follow up all the radio play and promotion with Raskins shows all throughout the U.S. as well as heading over to Europe for some shows and festivals. Definitely stay tuned into The Raskins Official website for all the latest touring updates and news blogs and promotions the band has coming in the near future. Thank you. We love you all. Keep rocking it hard!!!
Watch The Raskins' Video for 'We Had It All'